Gene Juarez Academy
What year did you graduate and from what campus?
I graduated from the Federal Way Campus in August of 2006.
Why did you choose a career in cosmetology and why GJA?
I have always loved the idea of doing hair and have always been the one to help others with their hair, even as early as junior high. I experimented a lot with my own hair through high school, but at 18 years old, I was not convinced that hair would be my career. I decided to continue on to Pacific Lutheran University and pursue my career as an artist. I figured out about half way through my junior year at PLU that I was still very interested in hair and really wanted to attend cosmetology school. I finished my degree and received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Two Dimensional Media in May 2005 and then started at Gene Juarez in September of 2005. It had always been in my mind and my passion for hair had not waned, even through college.
What are you currently doing now and what other industry related experience do you have other than your current position?
Right now I am currently the owner of Chroma Salon on 6th avenue in Tacoma WA. I work three days a week behind the chair as well as run the salon. We have 9 stylists and are very lucky to have an amazing group. Along with that, I also am a part time Artist/Educator for L’Oreal Professional. I work 2-4 days per month teaching classes, attending classes and styling/coloring for events around our Region in everything from color basics and brand introduction classes to creative color and balayage. I absolutely love the education side of the hair industry and it has allowed me to grow so much more as a stylist and salon owner.
How did your training with GJA prepare you for the industry and the work you are currently doing?
GJA was great in providing me the basic tools to be a successful stylist. Everything I learned there I was able to expand and grow upon and it really created the base of which I have grown my career. It taught me to be creative and push myself to step out of my comfort zone in order to obtain my goals.
What do you enjoy the most about your current position? What is your typical day like?
I am so lucky to get to be creative in so many ways. My current work day consists of 6-10 color and/or hair cut clients over a 9-10 hour day where I am allowed to be creative and spend time making my wonderful clients feel special and beautiful. I am busy and have a fun, crazy and sometimes chaotic life within the salon but always full of laughter and happiness! I spend time with my clients who have also become my friends and genuinely enjoy every day in the salon. My typical day with L’Oreal Professional® usually includes driving or flying to a salon to teach something creative that I love and am truly passionate about. I get to meet amazing stylists and work with some of the most amazing and creative artists from around the country. I not only teach but train and work on hair shows and events with stylists like Jason Backe, Jennifer MacDougall, Susie Bond and James Morrison.
What is your fondest memory of GJA?
My fondest memory of GJA is getting to be a part of the Artistic Team and really jumpstarting my love of hair shows and photo shoots.
What advice do you have for current students starting out in the program, and those getting ready to graduate?
For current students I would say; “be a sponge.” Soak up every bit of information that you can and start with good habits. If you begin thinking you don’t need all the little stuff, it will come back to bite you later and you will have a hard time changing those bad habits. Also, learn WHY you are doing what you are doing. This will be the difference between a good colorist and a GREAT one! For those getting ready to graduate, make sure you really look at all your options and see what is out there. You may not end up where you thought you would want to be but sometimes that is better and each place will be an opportunity to learn something new! Also, always treat your clients with love and respect. They are the ones choosing to come to you and they will be your biggest support along the way.
What advice do you have for people that are interested in going to cosmetology school?
It is an AWESOME career, but it takes a lot of hard work. Nothing will be handed to you. You can take it as far as you are willing to work for!
Anything else that you’d like to add to your story as a Featured Graduate?
I can say that hair is a true passion of mine and I love that I have a career that is ever growing and changing. I am constantly learning and evolving as a stylist, educator, artist and salon owner and I will continue for many years to come. Our job can never be outsourced, bought online or recreated at home and there are very few careers like that. We get to spend one on one time with people every day, making them feel special and beautiful, and that is an amazing thing. Find your passion and run with it.